Elma Family Kitty Living Arrows Photography Pip

Living Arrows 40/52


When you were little did you ever dream of finding somewhere completely secret, somewhere only you knew where to find, somewhere magical and special?

For me it was a set of rock pools on the beach.  I knew where to find them no matter how long we’d been away, and I could probably find them still but you needed exactly the right tide to be able to find them exposed from the sea, and even then it was a whim of the sea whether they’d be full to the brim of shingle or scoured out by the latest storm.

And if you were in luck you could drop down through a little round opening in the rock into the pool below.  Waist deep clear water, usually breathtakingly cold, sparkling in the light filtering in from a crack that ran the length of the roof of the cave as it bounced off smooth wet walls, duck egg greeny grey rock painted a soft coral by some sort of algae, and ruby clusters of jelly like sea anemones providing all the hint of hidden jewels you could wish for.

No one could see you once you were in the pool, you were utterly hidden even from someone walking close by.

One day I hope I will be able to show my little ones where to find that pool and I hope my memories have held true, and that the rocks have held up in the intervening years (the latter is probably the bigger concern!).

I think having grown up in one of the most beautiful parts of the country I don’t exactly have wanderlust, or at least if I do I tend to want to wander back to Devon, but a childhood filled with exploring the wild places has certainly left its mark.  And if I can’t provide a beach or a cave or the big skies and high places of Dartmoor, I can at least start us off on a lifetime of discovering the secret places.

So we went to find a little hidden wood.

In the heart of Leamington there’s a little triangle of land tucked between two railway lines and the main road.  I think it’s been used as railway sidings, or just scrub but in the last year or so it’s been rediscovered and now there’s a little loop of a trail around the edge.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

You can still hear the town, and every now and then there’s a rattle as a train scuttles past on one  side or the other, but it’s got that same feel of being hidden, tucked away from the world.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

There’s a tiny pond with a little deck to stand on to peer into the pond, with a solitary pond skater, two pond snails and a whole lot of duckweed to spot, though no frogs, no matter how hard we stared and Kitty wished.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life We looked for bugs under logs marked “lift me”, spotted butterfly dream catchers twirling from trees, balanced along beams left over from the train tracks, and tried to match trees to their leaves

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s still a work in progress, and as we rounded one corner we found two lovely ladies willow weaving; they’d already finished a chair and were working on a gorgeous tunnel, perfectly sized for our two lovely ladies.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It’s going to be wonderful when it’s finished, and when it’s had a few years to grow but the girls adored it as it is now; they ran back and forth and played peek-a-boo through the side and spotted the ribbons holding it together.

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

It was a lovely way to escape for the afternoon.

living arrows


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  • Anna-Marie 06/10/2014 at 10:27 am

    Lovely! and I had a special place too, and this post has reminded me of it! I used to love my little den by the park! Its where I went every weekend..

    Since when did Kitty get so big? She is growing so fast! Gorgeous photos Carie x

    • Carie 06/10/2014 at 9:55 pm

      Yay for secret places! And yes I know, we bought her a dress in the sale yesterday for next summer and couldn’t quite decide whether to get age 7 or 8!!! She’s four!!!

  • sally 06/10/2014 at 12:42 pm

    Beautiful photos, and I love that willow tunnel. Something I’ve always wanted to do in our garden. I don’t think I had any secret places when I was younger, but we do have quite a few secret places now, and it’s definitely something special to enjoy with the children.

    • Carie 06/10/2014 at 9:57 pm

      A willow tunnel would be so much fun in the garden – we don’t have space for one in our garden but Kitty’s nursery used to have one until they rearranged the garden and it became the veg patch and I know the children loved it 🙂

  • Potty Mouthed Mummy 06/10/2014 at 1:08 pm

    Awww gorgeous shots, particularly love the girls in the wellies looking at the river! xx

    • Carie 06/10/2014 at 9:57 pm

      Thank you 🙂

  • Vickie 06/10/2014 at 8:58 pm

    I would’ve loved to have had a secret place like this when I was little!

    Lovely photos Carie, I especially love the image of Elma in the willow tunnel.

    • Carie 06/10/2014 at 10:03 pm

      It’s no rock pool but it is pretty special none the less – and I’ll admit I rather wish the willow was tall enough for me!

  • Katy {What Katy Said} 07/10/2014 at 8:50 am

    These photos are stunning!!!! I love your description on your special place, you can tell how much you loved it!

    • Carie 07/10/2014 at 8:07 pm

      Thank you – the funny thing was that in talking to my Dad he knows exactly where I mean just from the description!

  • older mum in a muddle 08/10/2014 at 9:47 am

    I loved reading this. I had a secret den in the back of my garden when I was a child – all children should have a secret place :o). The pictures are gorgeous. X

    • Carie 08/10/2014 at 9:49 am

      thank you – I agree, everyone should have a hideyhole!!

  • Brandi 08/10/2014 at 3:08 pm

    This looks like such a fabulous spot. Great shots.

    • Carie 08/10/2014 at 10:16 pm

      thank you – it is a little haven in the middle of town – definitely somewhere we’ll be going back to!